Thursday, 4 October 2018

Family events from a wedding to a sad event

LAUREN AND JAMIE'S WEDDING DAY

Wedding Day - after less than a year of preparations, it was time to celebrate Lauren and Jamie's wedding, I am very biased and my daughter looked beautiful, the five bridesmaids all wore duck egg blue, which made me smile as it was a colour used on Drascombes many years ago.

I still say the star of the show was my little grandson Kyle, who within minutes of Lauren arriving in the church, proudly sits there and says "are we done yet"





 HANNAH'S 21st BIRTHDAY

As if a wedding didn't keep us busy, then it was Hannah's turn to become 21. Where have all the years gone too, it didn't seem that long ago she was starting school, now she has left university with a degree, and has started a full time job as a Waitrose Partner, so a very proud mummy indeed.





KYLE TURNS 4 AND SCHOOL BEGINS

This really is a milestone, my adorable Grandson Kyle started school in September, he was certainly ready for going to school, and off he went on his first day, all looking very smart - I wonder how long it will last before the collar is out and the shirt untucked.


Sorry not a school photo, but one of Kyle at the recent Southampton Boat Show, proudly demonstrating how he will steer the boat.

STEWART BROWN 

For those of you who have not heard, my wonderful father-in-law sadly lost his battle with cancer.

Stewart to me was my Drascombe encyclopedia,  I never planned on working at Churchouse Boats, it happened when he was very ill in hospital nine years ago, just by answering the phone, I then ended up with a job from it, and I have never looked back.

When Stewart wanted to retire in 2013, there was no other choice but to buy the company, I always enjoyed 'Stewart's company at boat shows, as there was always always a story to tell or a useful tip to try and remember.

The past two years meant there was less sailing than he had hoped, yet it did not stop him from joining in at Drascamp in 2016, and then being part of the flotilla sailing down from Ashlett Creek to Weymouth for the Drascombe Golden Jubilee.

This year, Stewart enjoyed two of his most enjoyable sails, both in fantastic weather and great company.

Sadly mid July Stewart's health started to deteriorate and he had more bad days than good. At the beginning of September he was admitted to The Countess of Brecknock Hospice

The Drascombe community have lost one of the best, right or wrong, Stewart only wanted the best for both Drascombe boats and their owners, those boots are going to be too big for me to fill!

I still remember sitting at Chichester when Hannah spoke to you and called you "Grampa", you replied "my name is Stewart", Hannah piped up " you will always be Grampa to me"

Thank you Stewart for everything, however Hannah is right, to Lauren, Jamie, Hannah, Kyle and me, you will always be Grampa xx


RIP STEWART "GRAMPA" BROWN









Saturday, 21 April 2018

Start of the new year - London and Dusseldorf Boat Shows

The new year started to be one busy one before we got to the end of 2017.

After Christmas, I come down with flu and a chest infection which set me back a few days, meaning I was catching up with work just days before leaving to go to London.

This year we decided to have larger stand and take both a Drascombe Lugger and Coaster. The Lugger had already been sold, while the Coaster was a four and a half year old one, which people thought was a new one. It goes to show what a great job the men do in the workshop to make a boat into a show boat.

London Boat show was different this year, with the decision made to make it a five day show, there were some grumble between exhibitors. Personally, I love the London show, why? Because you do not have to worry about the weather at all.

For the fourth year, I was joined for the duration by Dick Pizey, it does seem to be a good working team, I often say "Brains and Beauty" but we can never agree on who has what.

The first day went very quickly, we were joined by friends Ian and Glenys who were as always happy to help on the stand if needed.



We left the show quite promptly as we were meeting fellow exhibitors to attend the Marine Trade Awards event at Canary Wharf.

Jeff and Rob joined Dick and myself to have a quick drink to start the evening we then headed off in a taxi for a fun filled evening, it is not often I get the chance to dress up, so I made the most of it.



On arriving at the Pearson Room at Canary Wharf, the room was full of around 160 other people who wanted to be part of this event.

Sitting down to a lovely three course meal, between each course there was presentation of awards, the Chairman Paul Martin from BHG Marine presented the awards.

The Woman in Business Award went to my dear friend Suzanne from Barton Marine, and was very much deserved.

The evening rounded off with a free casino, now, I have to say I am not really a gambler, but as it was fake money, why not join in and have some fun. We were all given £100 to cash in, so off to the table I went, I preferred roulette so stayed there for the evening, I seems to be doing quite well, and then heard there was a trophy for the person with the most amount at the end of the evening, so as it had gone past midnight, I counted my chips and placed them all on black £2,400 to be exact, waiting for the ball to land, I closed my eyes, only to open them and find it had landed on red. Oh well, you can't win them all can you.

What a great way to end the first day of the boat show.

Waking up and feeling a tad tired, off for the second day, today Simon along with Lauren, Jamie and Kyle visited us today. I do love having my family come along and be part of the show.



During the five days we enjoyed seeing the usual boat show visitors, along with meeting some new Drascombe owners. Having two of us there, we had time to talk to other visitors who were very much interested in our boats, along with talking to owners about replacement spares.

Soon the five days were over, my first thoughts were that I wanted it to carry on, as it is always so nice to talk to owners old and new, however the five days drew in a lot of people, so all in all it was worth it.



BOOT DUSSELDORF

Getting back from London on the Monday gave me a few days at home before then flying out to Germany to visit Boot Dusseldorf, not that I need to explain about the boat show as it is the biggest one in Europe.

Once arriving in Dusseldorf we check into our hotel, the Lady Astor is certainly one I would recommend to anyone, lovely comfortable rooms, great selection of breakfast food, and local to both the train and the old town.



Saturday morning after breakfast, Dick P and I head to the train station, our entry ticket of 15 euros also includes travel for the day around the city. We arrive at BOOT to the largest exhibition centre I have ever seen. We head to hall 13 as we wanted to concentrate on the areas with sailing boats, it was certainly and eye opener to see so many different boats, the show is far greater than the London Boat Show and it is no wonder why, every water sport imaginable is exhibited there.



We walked around the halls which were of interest to us, as well as catching up with some friends who exhibited there.

Once our visit to the show was over, we headed to the only shop you have to visit in Germany, Steiff. After a lovely long walk, we found the shop and I managed to buy what I wanted for that special little man.

We then headed into the old town and had a meal before meeting up with friends, we headed to one of the pubs and spent an interesting a lively evening listening to a pub singer.

The beer was flowing very quickly and so was the G&Ts.

Sunday was spent having probably the best breakfast I had ever had at Schwan Restaurant, where it is an all you eat breakfast buffet for 13 Euros.

After breakfast we had an enjoyable stroll around Aldstadt which was lovely, the weather was good for us, and it was lovely to see something different than exhibition halls.

Monday we caught our flight back home after an enjoyable few days, where we certainly had our eyes opened to a different boat show, and what one should look like.

RYA SAILABILITY CONFERENCE - WYBOSTON LAKES

A couple of months ago I contacted the RYA sailability people asking if it would be possible to attend the conference which they hold every year. We last went about five years ago, so I thought it would be good to attend again.

We collected the last Drascombe Longboat which we built for Queen Mary Sailability last year, and took her to be on display outside of the centre.

Zingaroo looked lovely with all the sails up and us well admired.





                                                                     




During the day there were a number of workshops being put on, I was lucky to join in on two of them, while Dick went to another one.

It was certainly interesting to talk to groups who use our boats and to get their feedback. The Drascombe is certainly a boat used by many sailability groups.

During the day, it was good to put faces to names of people who I have spoken too over the years, and to meet new groups who were showing an interest in getting funding for a Drascombe for their own group.

All in all, the first part of the year have been very exciting, and I am looking forward to what the rest of the year brings.

Here's to a good sailing year

Sharon x



Sunday, 31 December 2017

Highlights of 2017

What a year it has been, and yet again it has gone far too quickly.

I am sat here feeling very sorry for myself as I type this, the dreaded flu/cold has caught up with me, and I am not feeling my best, but I never like to let myself or others down, so a quick run through of what has been going on.

January started with the London Boat Show, and the start of the Drascombe Golden Jubilee year, I became a TV and radio star, much to the amusement of my girls and Drascombe owners who sent me many messages.

A few changes went on at Chruchouse Boats throughout the first half of the year, however, I felt they were not for the best interest to either my customers, the Drascombe name, or the company, so with some hard work and careful planing, the company Churchouse Boats continues to be busy with new boats.

We moved premises ready for the beginning of June, a new location and a fresh start, just what we needed.

The Drascombe Golden Jubilee at The Weymouth and National Sailing Accademy was a great success, with 58 boats and 112 people in attendance, we know how to celebrate.

I managed to get out sailing a few times to the Isle of Wight, next year we will have no excuses, as there is lots in the planning, along with Drascamp in August.

The end of the year saw us with an order book through to May 2018, with boats going to Italy, America and Holland next year.

A lot of this would not be possible with out the team work at CBL, and with other people behind the scenes.

As well as my love for my job and sailing, I also find time for my family.

2017 was an exciting year with Lauren and Jamie buying their first house, then within days they got engaged.

Rags joined the family in Augsut, and is fast becoming the work dog, everyone loves him.

Moving forward to 2018, so far there is Lauren and Jamie's wedding, Hannah will be 21, Kyle will start school, and all being well Hannah will also graduate in October from Uni. Along with numerous boat shows and Drascamp, it should be another busy and interesting year.

I end this wishing you all a happy and healthy new year, I have had yet again another brilliant year with some great friends, and lots more memories being made. Here's to another good year of good weather, and lots of sailing adventures.

Sharon xx




Sunday, 26 November 2017

Busy, Busy, Busy with lots going on

Wow, it seems to have been a long time since I last updated my blog. Work ahs been busy which is great, and family life has been too.

SOUTHAMPTON BOAT SHOW

Again we exhibited at Southampton Boat Show, the first day sadly was not the best weather wise, however it didn't stop us from being joined by family, friends, customers and suppliers to join us for cake and fizz sponsored by Barton Marine as part of our 50th Anniversary celebrations. This really has been a year for them..
 
 

As always, we are joined through out the week by customers and friends, which is lovely as it can often be a god send to have help on the stand.
 
 

After a busy weekend, Dick Pizey come down for a few hours after work on the Monday, dick has helped at three London Boat Shows, and enjoys meeting the customers and giving any advice he can, what Dick would really like to do is complete a sale of a new boat, so no pressure at London in January. Brad and Bob visited during the week, although I am sure they visited the beer tent as well as seeing all those lovely bit boats.
 

 
One of the best parts of the show for me, is the other exhibitors, as at times the laughs and talking get you through the long wet days.
Highlander Boats certainly made me smile during the week, as one day I come into the show to find a sign attached to our show Lugger,
 
 
Drascombe Diamond Club
10% off Wednesday
Over 70's only
 
The Scottish do have a funny sense of humour :-)
 
During the course of the ten days, we had lots of positive enquiries, which we followed up on our return, this included selling several brokerage boats, and a good amount of spares and accessories.
 
Soon it was time to pack up again for another year, and count down until we head to London in January 2017
 
FAMILY TIME
 
Along with running the business, I also enjoy catching up with my girls, just before the boat show, Hannah and I went to Dorset to collect the latest edition to our family, this little fella is now five months old and very much part of the family and comes to work some days with me too.
 
Meet "Rags"
 

 
Kyle is now three years old, and has attended his fourth Southampton Boat Show, he is such a little charmer
 

Hannah has now started in her final year at Winchester University, reading Marketing, so we are looking forward to seeing how well Hannah does next year, however I will be proud of everything she does.
 

Lauren and Jamie have now set the date for their wedding, Saturday June 2nd 2018 we shall be looking forward very much to being part of the celebrations.
 

I finally managed to get one last sail out in October, after busy days and not very good weather, we sailed over to Shepherds Wharf for one night and back again in fog, that was a very interesting sail for me, as it meant keeping my wits about me and following the compass for once, and as for things moving at sea, I really wasn't too sure where I was going. Luckily we managed to get back safely and in one piece.
It has been a busy year this year, so sailing has not happened as much as I would like. However, there is always next year.

BACK TO THE BOAT YARD

We have just started on the first of a run of new boats, the first is a Lugger which we shall be exhibiting at London Boat Show in January, she is another well finished off boat and I know she will be greatly admired. After the Lugger we have two Longboats which will be shipped out to an organisation in New Hampshire, once I have more details, then I will share them with you.

Kyle and Rags check out the new Lugger
 

LYMINGTON DRASCOMBE SUPPER

Our usual November supper had moved this year to Lymington for a change, it was organised by Andy Peter and included a pre supper tour of the RNLI station at Lymington, and a talk after the supper by the RNLI.









 
 During the evening some small gifts were handed out to various Drascombers for their humour, forgetfulness, and Drascombe spirit, as well as thanks to those who helped me with the Drascombe Golden Jubilee at Weymouth in the summer.

 I have to say, it has been another busy time and in five weeks time we shall be ready to see in the new year, I will be back to say goodbye before the end of 2017.

Sharon xx
 
 
 

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Drascombe Golden Jubilee 6th - 9th July 2017

Looking back, I was never 100% certain how this would turn out, after a successful Drascamp in 2016, how can you improve on an event enjoyed by all. We, as it turned out I needn't have worried.
From when the application forms started to come in, I was excited to have 30 boats, let alone 58 boats actually arrive for the event.
My adventures started with arriving at WPNSA on the Wednesday with Jamie towing the caravan down for me, a first for me, but I wanted to be on site with everything going on, after all, it was my little project.
Glenys arrived shortly after, and we headed of for some lunch.
Me and my "second" mum
Jamie and I managed to set the caravan up between us
We saw the first of the fleet starting to arrive, so I headed down to meet them.
Wednesday evening, Dick P and I headed to The Cove at Portland for some lovely fish and chips. The views from the pub are amazing. This gave us a five minute breather away from everyone to finalise the last minute details.
What a lovely view

Thursday morning and I was all excited, heading to the reception area with Glenys ready to meet the first to arrive. Henk Wels and his ships mate were the first to arrive from Holland, I was so excited to have an owner from Holland, as it shows that they believed in us putting on a great celebration.
Wow, Thursday was a very hot day, with Tony, Brad, Stewart and Chris manning the slip way, I had Ian showing cars into the carpark, and Dick giving instructions of what to do next. This is what I call great team work.
About the only time the slipway was empty
Hannah, my youngest daughter arrived in the afternoon, she was soon set to work.
In the evening, a sailors supper was laid on for those wishing to join us. It was a good opportunity for people to get to know each other, and for us to give out some general house keeping information
.
Friday  The weather held off, however the sail over to Lulworth Cove was just a little lumpy to say the least. I had the pleasure of sailing with Brad in his wooden Drascombe Longboat Cruiser, this is the second time I have had the pleasure, although I am sure the combination of cooked breakfast and the boat going up and down, made me feel just a tad queezy.
Looking back at the boats all in full sail, was a fantastic view. Was this really part of the plan I was beginning to wonder, or was it a dream, I could tell it was going to be an emotional few days for me.


The look back towards Portland

Once at Lulworth Cove, the sails were dropped and I jumped ship to go back with Dick P in Daislebee. We anchored next to Stewart and got aboard for some lunch.
Mussels for lunch
Hannah pulling the anchor up
Photo of Lulworth Cove by Tom Richardson
 The sail back from Lulworth was just as exciting, Glenys and I sailed back with Dick in Daislebee.
And if I thought it was going to be a leisurely sail, then I was mistaken, with being instructed to move from port to starboard, I went to move, just as the boat went over a wave, lets say I thought I was going to go over the side of the boat, having composed myself, I am then subjected to Pizey pulling on the mainsail to tie it up, that he ends up sitting on me, what an adventure of being battered and bruised.
Once we were back on dry land, it was interesting to hear from the Drascombers and how they enjoyed the sail over to Lulworth.
Friday evening, and it was a leisurely walk to the Cove at Portland, where a few of us enjoyed a fish and chip supper.


Saturday was the day of the pursuit race, for as we all know, Drascombes do not race. Stewart gave the details during the morning briefing, while Dick then ventured out with the buoys for the course.

Hannah and I had the pleasure of sailing in a Drascombe Gig, with Jeff, Will and Andrew from the London Scout Project. These lads are a credit to the group they are part off. The team work between them has to be seen first hand to understand it. Jeff is a very experienced sailor, and was good to have him there to answer a few questions for owners.


Hannah, Jeff and me
Enjoying a sail


After the pursuit race, I had a little visitor arrive called Kyle, who arrived with Simon for the rest of the day and evening. All Kyle wanted to do was to go on a boat and go sailing, well he was very lucky as he was able to go out in both a Gig and a Drascombe Longboat.

In the afternoon there was "Parade of Sails" where those who wanted to take part.
I was just finishing off in the restaurant for the evening meal when I got a phone call from Dick telling me he was heading to the pontoon to pick me up. How could I say no.
Once out on the water, it was such a wonderful sight to see all of the boats out on the water decorated, what made it even more special was the fact that on the water, sailing was Katharine Mary, the Lugger I set out to find two years ago, once found, she was renovated by the workers last year, to then have on show at London Boat Show in January, and now she is on the water with Hannah (one half of the owners) at the helm, could this really get more emotional than it was!.
Yes it could, as I then decided that I was going to telephone Kate Watkinson and update her on our few days. Speaking to Kate, and describing the sight to her, along with saying that Katharine Mary was sailing again, really did make me smile, more than I had done in a long time.

Katharine Mary
Going back in, Brad decided it would be fun to have a water fight, so once at the pontoon, all I had was a pint glass which I filled with water and threw over him, sadly I should have known I would end up worse off, as once off the boat he got his own back.
That will teach me

Once all dry, it was time to meet with the Simon, Lauren, Jamie and Kyle who had come down to join us for the evening, and head off to the Spinnakers Bar for the evening meal, Glenys and I had spent a few hours in the afternoon setting up, and we hoped that the hard work would be appreciated, a rather silly thought, as the room looked great.
                                  
The food was fantastic, and with 112 people sat at 12 tables, it was certainly well attended.
Once people had finished their meals, Dick took to the floor to thank those who helped us on the first day. He then went on to have a bit of fun with the room, as when he mentioned a Drascombe boat model, if they were sat on that table, or owned one, then they had to cheer, this had a few of us laughing and everyone was joining in.
At this time I was presented with a beautiful bouquet of flowers thanking me for all of the work I had put into the event. Along with a standing ovation from the floor.
Simon read out a letter from Kate Watkisnon, as I knew she wouldn't be able to attend I asked her if she would like something read out. The letter was not opened until the night, so it was a surprise for all.
"My name is Katharine Mary Watkinson and I am living proof that having a whinging wife is no bad thing. My dear husband was so determined that I should join him in his love of sailing that it inspired him to design a boat to my specifications. The result was so successful and admired by others that he took her to London Boat Show in 1967, and within half an hour of opening, received the first order.
You all know the rest of the story of Drascombe boats, and I should like to thank you all for your support.
I am sorry I cant be with you for this 50th Anniversary celebration, but I'm thinking about you and I send you all my very best wishes"     Kate
Stewart then went on to give the winners names of the Pursuit Race, with Dominic Jarman first place with his Coaster, followed by Alex Haig second in his Deben Lugger, and David Jillings in the Drascombe Longboat (Queen Mary Sailability)
I then took to the floor to thank everyone for attending the event, and had hoped they had enjoyed themselves. I went on to mention that as we all know, the Drascomber age is not getting any younger, however we were joined in the audience by Annabelle Crane and Kyle Harwood, both two years old, and I hope are future Drascombe sailors.
I thanked Glenys for the hard work in producing the beautiful embroidered napkins which everyone was welcome to take home with them, Lauren presented Glenys with a bouquet of flowers.
There was also one person who if it wasn't for his time spent helping me with ideas, computer work and the necessary paperwork to send out to everyone, this event would not have run as smoothly as it did. My thanks really went to Dick Pizey.
Ross Archer then wanted to say a few words of thanks to everyone who worked hard to put on an enjoyable event.
The evening ended rather emotional for all the lovely words said about how much people had enjoyed meeting other Drascombe owners.
Sunday - we like to put on something different, and I believe for Drascombe, this was.
Ruth Worsley (Bishop of Taunton) and Howard Worsley led a Sunday morning service with a few sea shanties and readings which were read by Hannah and Lauren Harwood along with Julian Merson, very poignantly in the background was "Katharine Mary" sailing in the harbour.
Time for saying goodbyes to old friends and new.
Sadly my time here at Weymouth had come to an end, however I look back on it with only memories and knowing that I had completed the tasks I set out to achieve -
Finding Katharine Mary along with refurbishing her
Finding a location which would host the Drascombe Golden Jubilee
Seeing so many Drascombes on the water in one location
Enjoying the company of many Drascombe owners
The days following the event, I received email after email thanking me for the hard work and efforts put into the enjoyable event which I organised. It wouldn't have taken place without the help of Dick and the others.
My final photo show what this is all about - Four generations of Churchouse Boats

Will (London Scout Project) Me, Simon, Stewart, Kyle, Dick P, Hannah, Jamie and Lauren
I will end with my last thoughts - The whole weekend was an emotional roller coaster for me, hoping everything would fall into place, checking on the weather to ensure no rain was due, hoping no one needed to be recovered, well I can honestly say I did not need to worry at all. The staff at WPNSA were very helpful and sometimes went beyond what we expected.
For me, I went home smiling, my job was done
Here's to the next one ........................................................ Drascamp 2018
Photo credits mdb.photos, Ray Dittrich, Jeff Webber and Tom Richardson